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As the premier international lawmaking body, the United Nations (U.N.) plays a key role in combating international terrorism. However, even though the U.N.'s General Assembly passed one of the most comprehensive resolutions against terrorism in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., the international community continues its 30-year struggle to agree on a working definition of terrorism.

The U.N. Charter, which laid out basic principles of international relations, established the U.N. on October 24, 1945. At its founding, the U.N. had 51 member countries; it now has 190 members. Each member has a seat and a vote in the General Assembly. The U.N. has five other permanent bodies, including the 15-member Security Council, which is responsible for peacekeeping and international security and is thus intimately involved ...

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